Ken Kurson, the editor of the New York Observer, owned by Donald Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner, doesn’t know where the Republican presidential front-runner really stands on relocating the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
“I don’t know exactly where Donald Trump is on that particular issue,” Kurson said during an interview on CNN on Wednesday, a day after his paper endorsed Trump for president. “He said in the AIPAC speech that he favored moving the embassy to Jerusalem. But, as you noted, everybody says that. Bill Clinton said it. George [W.] Bush said it. And it keeps not getting done. So, I don’t know if that’s going to be as big of a priority as I, personally, would hope it be.”
In his address to the AIPAC policy conference in Washington, D.C., last month, Trump promised to meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu “immediately,” and “move the American embassy to the eternal capital of the Jewish people, Jerusalem.” In a January interview with The Brody File, ahead of the Iowa Caucus, Trump said “I am for that one hundred percent. We are for that one- hundred percent” when told by host David Brody that pledging to move the embassy to Jerusalem is a “tier-A issue for Evangelicals as it relates to support for Israel.”
But on Wednesday, the Daily Beast reported that Trump’s new right-hand man and de-facto campaign manager, Paul Manafort once lobbied against moving the embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. According to the report, in 1984 Manafort lobbied on behalf of the Saudis against House and Senate legislation that would have pressed the U.S. government to make this move.
“I don’t know Paul Manafort. I have never met him. I have no idea what role he’s playing in the Trump campaign,” Kurson told CNN hosts John Berman and Kate Bolduan when asked if it should be a political issue in the campaign. “As far as the observer is concerned, we have never endorsed a candidate that we agree with one hundred percent. You don’t get the perfect candidate. We don’t get to build these guys out of spare parts like the Terminator.”
Kurson came under fire last week when a New York magazine front cover revealed that he helped Kushner prepare Trump’s speech to AIPAC. In an email to The Huffington Post, Kurson admitted that he read a draft of Trump’s speech, but did not specifically address a question about whether he wrote or edited any of the speech. On CNN, Kurson said that his involvement in writing the speech was “almost none.”
“There was a draft that came to me. I looked it over and said, ‘This looks really good.’ And that was it,” he said. “I had no idea the furor it would cause two-three weeks later.”
In related news, a poll published on Wednesday showed that 33 percent of Israelis think Trump is the most ‘pro-Israel’ U.S. presidential candidate, compared to 31 percent who think the same of Hillary Clinton.